The Motorcycle Showroom, Bristol | December 15th
Mid-December saw Dirtytalk showcase seven hours of electronic dance music with the eminent but unsung Mark Seven at the Motorcycle Showroom. Having recently held successful nights in collaboration with the likes of Brixton-based World Unknown DJs, this was to be the penultimate event before the Showrooms’ closure in January.
The Dirtytalk DJs Kerry Patterson and Shaun Tennant physically transformed the sculpture and film gallery into something unique. A space usually intended for passive exposition of art, it was clear upon entering that this evening was going to be a more collaborative affair.
Opening, Kerry played bass guitar-ridden Balearic dance songs; often a dirty word to describe dance music these days, but perfectly fitting for a night entitled Dirtytalk. Shaun played jacking house oddities, the kind of music found on long forgotten but destructively pertinent Trax or DJ International B-sides. Both set the pace for the evening, a journey into the bowel of dance music.
Mark Seven, playing from 12.30 till 5.00 am, built up and perforated the atmosphere on the dancefloor, a refreshing experience to behold in the days of congested line-ups. In his release notes for the Salute to the Men of Vauxhall mixes, Mark recalls The Fall’s statement from Look, Know that “All fashion is filched from faggots!” The same can be said for music. The crowd were taken on a journey through the days of late disco, Italo, early house and onwards, constantly reminding us that in Mark Seven’s words, “they were visitors … – only one[s] who arrived way too late”.
It would be misleading, however, to say that Mark’s set solely consisted of euphoria built classics and clichés. The music went through house music and Hi-NRG, onto a real blend of unclassics and funk. Live drums from disco records were mixed and undercut with jacking drum machines and Ron Hardy-esque edits. The crowd were presented with originals sampled by heads with an encyclopaedic knowledge of music that could rival Mark’s own; such an example being Risky Changes by Bionic Boogie (appearing on Moodymann’s The Third Track). There can be no doubt that this was a night of escapism, placing everyone in the Ibiza clubs of early Balearic days, a perfect contrast to mid-winter Bristol.
RA’s review of Mark’s performance in Sydney said listening to his sets was almost like joining a secret society, too divisive a metaphor considering Mark’s set was as encompassing for everybody as it was interesting to listen to. Overall, despite being based in a gallery, this night was more than just showcasing music. Mark and the Dirtytalk DJs offered a selection of records seldom heard out on today’s dancefloor but as universally enjoyable as ever, a fitting farewell to one of Bristol’s most idiosyncratic venues.
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Words: Gareth Thomas
Photos: Joseph Watts